‘A new baby is like the beginning of all things- wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities.’
- Eda J Leshan
Welcoming a new baby in the family is very joyful event. Mother is so excited to nurture the newborn with love, care and affection .Breast-feeding is also a new experience for mother, through which she is providing nutrients to her baby. WHO celebrates the week between 1st -7th August every year as ‘World Breastfeeding Week’. But the whole world is going through the Corona virus outbreak, and all mothers are under pressure ,if they will have the corona whether it will transmit to their child or not?
The main aim behind this celebration by WHO is to promote breastfeeding and its importance and benefits for both mother and child. So all mothers should breastfeed their babies for at least the first six months of their lives as the rate of growth of the infants during first six months of life is greater and faster. So the baby should be fed adequately.
Breast milk is the first food of babies which is natural one. It not only provides energy to the baby but also builds the immunity to protect the child from various infections. Initially it should be given 8-12 times a day.
Advantages of breast feeding-
1) Protection against infection- Breast milk contains Lactoferrin which prevents the growth of E.coli and prevents gastroenteritis. Lysozyme content protects against infection .It confers passive immunity to the baby as the milk contains protective antibodies.
2) Breast milk is readily available – It is sterile and readily available to baby at body temperature.
3) It is more convenient- It requires no preparation and costs nothing.
4) Breast milk acts as a natural contraception
5) It has laxative action.
6) It doesn’t cause allergy.
7) It develops healthy mother and child relationship.
8) Helps involution of uterus.
9) Vertical transmission of covid-19 through breastfeeding in infants is low.
Though breast feeding has such benefits still it is having lots of myths also-
- The mother should not breastfeed if she is suffering from an infection.
- First milk (colostrums) should not be given to babies.
- In addition to breast milk, infants need water.
- Breastfeeding changes the shape and size of breasts.
- Honey or sugar-water should be given to babies before starting the first breastfeed.
- It is not safe to take any medication during breastfeeding.
- The amount of breast milk depends on the size of breasts.
- The baby cries several times because of inadequate milk.
Preparations for Breast feeding – The preparation for breastfeeding should start from the second trimester of pregnancy. Proper care should be taken about cleanliness of nipples. If nipples are cracked or retracted, should be treated at proper time. The mother should wash her hands before feeding. Both mother and baby should be in comfortable position during feeding.
Frequency of feeding- The baby is put to the breast as soon as the baby becomes hungry. During the first 24 hours, the mother can feed the baby at adequate intervals. The initial feeding should last 5 minutes at each breast. The baby should suckle for 10 minutes at the first breast and 5 minutes at the second one; the next feed should start with second breast. Night feed is also essential to prevent excessive filling and hardening of the breasts and to avoid an interval between feeds of over 5 hours.
The average requirement of milk is about 100ml/kg/24 hrs.on the third day and is increased to 150ml/kg/24hrs on the 10th day.
Technique for Breast feeding- The mother and baby should be in a comfortable position.The mother holds the baby in an inclined upright position on her lap; the baby’s head on her forearm on the same side of her breasts, the head being a little extended. The mother should bend slightly forward and then guide the nipple holding it between her first two fingers into the baby’s mouth.
Burping or Breaking the wind-The baby should be held upright against the chest and the back gently patted till the baby belches out the air.
A properly fed baby gains weight properly, the baby is happy, sleeps between the feeds and at night. Doesn’t vomit and good vigor manifested by movements of limbs and cry.
Special advice during Covid -19 outbreak-
1) If the mother is Corona positive or suspected and if she is having symptoms, she should take proper care about hygiene, she should wash her hands with hand wash or use hand sanitizer before touching the baby.
2) If mother is having respiratory symptoms, like shortness of breath, She should wear mask to prevent droplets with covid -19 being spread to her infant.
3) If the mother is severely ill with Covid -19 symptoms and can’t take the proper care of her infant or not able to feed her child directly, in such cases she should express the milk and safely provide it to her child.
4) Clean and disinfect any surfaces you touch often.
5) Avoid coughing or sneezing on your baby
6) Avoid kissing and touching your baby's face, and your own face
If the mother is not feeling well and if she is breastfeeding her baby, she should keep feeding. It's important not to interrupt breastfeeding. If mother is unwell to breastfeed, express the milk and give it to baby by bottle with all aseptic precautions.
Role of trained health care professionals-
i) They should tackle the anxiety and fear of mother having Covid -19 symptoms about breastfeeding.
ii) They should encourage the mother for breast feeding if she is asymptomatic or suspected covid case.
iii) Encourage the mother to follow all sanitary measures .to wash the hands with soap and water upto 20 seconds and to use hand sanitizer before handling the child.
Standard breast feeding guidelines-
- Start the breastfeeding within one hour of the birth.
- Continue the breastfeeding for six months then start with safe complementary food at the age of six months.
- Continue the breastfeeding upto 2 years of age .
So it’s our duty to give moral support to mother if she is Corona Positive or suspected. Make her confident and encourage her for breastfeeding. Relieve the fear and anxiety from her mind about Corona ,and make her sure that with little care and following all precautionary measures about hygiene she can touch her child and breastfeed so that she can nurture the baby with love, care and affection.
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c. Non-specific vaginitis
d. Miscellaneous vaginal infection
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